Monday, October 5, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Enjoy the process

{sometimes you just have to get something off your chest.}
There seems to be a push in the quilting world lately.  It's that what is currently available is not enough.

When did the "right now" become so mundane that we have to spend today's resources for next year's fun.  Why can't we revel in the excitement of today and enjoy the process?

Today is a great time.  We are here, we are able, we have UFO's, we have a stash, we have local quilt  shops with gazillions of beautiful fabrics at the ready, we have plans for the next 5 quilts we want to make.  We can be happy in the present.  Enjoy the process.

There are lots of shops selling pre-orders of the future releases.  The next line is not that different from the current line by the particular designer-same colors, different flowers.  Really, it's not that different from the last 5 lines by the designer.

But there seems to be a driving force in our online-centric world that we must have it first, as soon as it comes out.  So we can whip up something quickly and be part of the online hype.  The sad thing though, is that the designer's NEXT line will start to pre-sell right about the time you are ready for your moment in the sun.  The moment of glory is lost, because the conversation has moved on from the fabric that just came out last week to the fabric not available for 5 months.  It's a disturbing cycle to me.

And it's not just fabric lines.  The Row by Row, which we thoroughly enjoy being part of each year, will announce the 2016 theme this coming week.  There are still many shops looking to award prizes for the current year.  Folks have pre-ordered kits from shops.  We took an email list (I refuse to be your bank & hold your money for 6 months until we can ship November 1st).   Just like with the fabric pre-orders, we start building hype for an event that won't begin for 8 months.

The theme reveal is logical, really it is, and I totally understand the timing.  Designers need time to design patterns; shops like to shop fall market for fabric.  In today's world, it would be impossible to keep the theme out of the public view, as it takes only 1 shop owner out of 2700 shops to slip up and give away the secret.  The RXR fanatics would take to the web with gusto to spread the word.  It is only logical for RXR creators to control the frenzy and source of data flow.

Prior to the online world of today, it was easier maintain information flow and keep new releases at the industry level until it was appropriate to make them public.  It was more fun to see a new thing & seek it out.  Now we see a new thing & feel the only way to be part of it is to pre-order.

And as you have surmised by now, I don't like the financial aspect of the pre-order.  I think it's dangerous for small business cash flow, and I don't think you should put your money in a non-interest bearing account.

But for the most part, I think it just keeps us from living in the moment.  Look around today & appreciate today.  How many are embroiled in the "what's next" that we forget that today is pretty awesome all by itself.

Quilt Market used to be an industry trade show where shop owners could plan out their future events and have some element of surprise with their shop's quilters.  But to reinforce my point above, that can't happen anymore.  The online public sharing during Market creates consumer demand 6 months in advance of retail delivery.  It's sad that new things are old news by the time of their actual delivery.

When I started quilting the focus was on the creation, the process, the learning, and the joy.  The industry seems to have shifted and changed with the online-times.  There seems to be less interest in the joy of creativity and more interest in the online fame of being liked, regrammed, retweeted and hashtagged.

Enjoy the process.
One day you may not have the ability to quilt anymore.  When you look back at the quilts you made will you remember the creative process, the making? Will you remember the faces when you gave the gift of your creation?

We all quilt for different reasons.  The making, the giving, even something just to keep idle hands busy.  Whatever your driving force, try to relish today.  Even if the force is online fame, enjoy the process.

Yes, I am an online and brick and mortar quilt shop, and pattern designer.  Yes, I want you to shop.  But what I want more than anything is for you to enjoy using what I provide.  I want you to enjoy the process.  I want you to encourage others to give it a whirl; to sit with a child and show them what you are doing - tell them why you are doing it.  I want you to quilt for the joy.  I am honored to be part of that joy.  I enjoy traveling to your area, teaching or being part of your quilt show, because I can share my joy of quilting and maybe even help you kindle or rekindle yours.

Enjoy the process.
Enjoy today.

As always, wishing you best wishes for straight stitches, Shannon

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Scrap Quilt Challenge-Sponsor Spotlight-Blank Quilting

The Scrap Quilt Challenge is excited to have Blank Quilting again as a sponsor.  Look at the yummy goodness our lucky Scrap Quilt Challenge participants will receive!
We just recently quilted a customer's quilt that happened to use all Blank Quilting fabrics.  This beautiful Log Cabin quilt was made by my friend Bernice.
Blank Quilting is going through a renaissance this year as they are now part of the Henry Glass/Studio E family.  We've seen lots of changes in style and design already & are excited to see what the future holds.  Be sure to look for the Blank Quilting fabrics at your LQS or at Fabrics N Quilts!

If you are new to the Scrap Quilt Challenge, I encourage you to pop over & read the details.  The deadline to upload your entry is OCTOBER 15TH!!  Still time to wrap up a project & get in on some great prizes, like those above and a whole bunch more!  Love show & tell...well join the flickr group now!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Scrap Quilt Challenge October Designer Showcase & free pattern

It is October!
Who would have thought when we started the Scrap Quilt Challenge in July that October would come so quickly?!

I am excited to share this month's designer with you.  Amber Johnson of Gigi's Thimble Quilt Patterns is a Martingale author and pattern designer.  Her latest book, Vintage Vibe was a huge hit at the shop this summer.  Amber was kind enough to lend us 12 of the quilts from the book for a summer-long trunk show. 
Vintage Vibe - Amber Johnson
It was so awesome to see her craftsmanship up close & really see the joy she has for the craft of quilting.  I have already made 4 projects from this book.  I would make them all. 

Amber blogs at A Little Bit Biased & you can see her latest projects and happenings there.  Be sure to add it to your daily bloggy rounds!

Today, Amber's posted her Scrap Quilt Challenge free block tutorial on her blog!  She's even linked up a second tute there too.  I have to say that I like the no pressing, no cutting portion of her plan (now you are intrigued, click over & check it out!)

You have just 2 weeks left to get your Scrap Quilt Challenge entry uploaded to our Flickr group!  See all the details on the challenge & the awesome prizes on the Fabrics N Quilts website (click here)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Scrap Quilt Challenge-Sponsor Spotlight-Martingale-That Patchwork Place

Today we are celebrating a new sponsor of the Scrap Quilt Challenge, Martingale & Company/That Patchwork Place.
They have generously donated these 5 books to our Challenge quilters!  Isn't this just a picture of scrappy heaven?

So, a little about Martingale:
Celebrating 36 successful years in business, Martingale is an industry-leading publisher of quilt, knit, crochet, and craft books by top authors. Since our founding in 1976 by Dan and Nancy J. Martin, we've sold more than 21 million books worldwide.
For the first 20 years, our focus was entirely on quilting, and we were known as That Patchwork Place®. In 1996, we broadened our scope to include knitting, crochet, and other crafts. To reflect this broadened emphasis, we adopted the name Martingale & Company. Over the years, the name Martingale has become synonymous with outstanding craft books, so in 2012 we simplified our name to Martingale. We also celebrated our successful brand by updating our logos. That Patchwork Place remains an imprint of Martingale.
To ensure the continuation of their successful business, the Martins chose to sell the company to their employees. In 2007, Martingale became 100% employee-owned. Thriving under the leadership of Jennifer Keltner, who took the helm as Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer in April 2014, Martingale is staffed with enthusiastic people dedicated to their crafts and to the corporate mission: providing quality products and service to inspire creativity. (On the personal side, 80% of staff members quilt, sew, or craft during off-work hours.)
Martingale is very helpful to your local quilt shop too.  They keep in constant contact with us on new releases and quilting trends. Working with their authors, they allow shops to borrow quilts for a short time from the author & host trunk shows.

This summer we hosted 3 month-long trunk shows of Vintage Vibe and were able to show our customers 12 of the projects from this fantastic book by Amber Johnson.  {Amber is our October Scrap Quilt Challenge Featured Designer, by the way.  You'll want to make sure to pop back over on October 1st for her scrap block tute!}

Big Thank YOU to Martingale for supporting the craft industry for nearly 4 decades by inspiring us all to find our creative outlet.  We also thank them for supporting the 5th Scrap Quilt Challenge!

If you are new to the Scrap Quilt Challenge & want more info, check out all the details on our website:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Scrap Quilt Challenge-Sponsor Spotlight-Quilters Dream Batting

I am honored to partner again with Quilters Dream Batting for the Scrap Quilt Challenge.
Quilters Dream Batting is a family owned and operated business since 1995. From the very beginning, they have been committed to quality, service, and innovation, and all Quilters Dream Batting products are made with pride in the USA.
They say it best on their website & I have to agree with everything this says....
We use the finest fibers available and state of the art manufacturing to bring our customers batting of unsurpassed quality and consistency. Quilters Dream Batting uses the softest, silkiest high-quality fibers so that your quilt will stay soft, wonderfully drapeable, and will resist shrinkage. With higher quality fiber and processing, greater stitching distances are made possible for wonderful freedom of design. Each batting is hand cut and hand inspected to insure unsurpassed quality. We carry a variety of lofts, fibers, colors, and sizes to meet all your quilting needs. 
With a commitment to excellence and quality, the goal at Quilters Dream Batting has always been to exceed our customers expectations in every way. We believe that quality batting affects the ease of quilting and is essential to quilts' longevity, drape and beauty. Batting can define and enhances the character and feel of a quilt as well as adding stability, volume, warmth and drape. 
Quilters Dream Batting is honored to be a part of the beauty, art and love that is a handmade quilt.
In addition to being a great batting, as a family-run business, they understand that with families come heartaches.  For years Quilters Dream Batting has spearheaded the Hopes & Dreams for ALS Quilt Challenge.  Read more about Hopes & Dreams here:

This year they have added a new batting, PINK, which is a pink 80/20 cotton/poly batting .  10% of Dream Pink sales are donated to Metastatic Breast Cancer research.

Quilter's Dream is pretty active on Instagram & other social networks.  Find all the links on the company's home page:

Generous as ever, Quilters Dream has donated all these batting packages.  Many Scrap Quilt Challenge quilters are going to be VERY happy!
If you've not heard of the Scrap Quilt Challenge yet, it's not too late to enter a quilt!  See the Challenge details on our website:!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL-Block 3 and Reveal

Kim & I hope you have enjoyed your trip through your scrap bins and our tutorials.  Today's our last block & our big reveal!  Don't miss the details at the end for the giveaway!

Remember, Kim from Persimon Dreams & I are each posting a tutorial today!  Kim is going to blow your mind today with her design, so you gotta go pop over  & check it out:

Continuing my fun with pinwheels, my third block will combine to make up our top & bottom border.  These blocks will give your quilt a secondary design when we make them in 2 different colors.  

We are making a 6" finished block.  In my final reveal, we will use 2 colorways of this block, yellow and red.  We'll need 8 yellow and 10 red blocks in my final design (see below).  

We'll call this one...

Below is what you need to cut and stitch for ONE block. 
Background  (cream) 
          (2) 3.5" x 2" rectangles
          (2) 2 3/8" square -  (to be honest, I used 2.5" squares and then square up the HST.  It's how I roll; see here)
Color 1-  (blue)
          (4)   2 3/8" square - mark diagonal line on wrong sides (same 2.5" squares as cream above)
Accent-  (yellow or red) 
          (2)   2 3/8" square -  (again I use 2.5" squares and then square up)
          (2) 3.5" x 2" rectangles 
{Click on any of the images to enlarge, then your browser's back button to come back to the tutorial}

Step 1: Make HST units:

Place cream squares right side up, place blue squares right side together (RST), aligning all sides of the squares.  Stitch 1/4" from each side of the drawn line.  Make 2.

Cut the drawn line, press toward the blue fabric.  Trim up to 2.5" squares.  This will yield 4 squares. 

Repeat process, matching Yellow & Blue squares.  (2 yellow matched with 2 blue 2 3/8" squares.)

{Note I'm showing both yellow/blue HST & red/blue HST.  
You need 2 yellow/blue squares-4 HST- for the yellow colorway block.  
You need 2 red/blue squares-4 HST-for the red colorway block}

Step 2:  Assemble Rows
I like to lay my block pieces on the table so I can see just which side to stitch. 
I know there are several quilters that don't like open seams.  You can avoid the bulk in your seam & the open seam by spinning your seams on the back side of your block.  Here's a tutorial from Moda that will help & another from the July Scrap Quilt Challenge Featured Designer, Joan Ford.

a.  Stitch, RST the top and bottom rows of the block.  These rows are the same:
Yellow Colorway:  yellow/blue HST, yellow rectangle, yellow/blue HST.  Stitch 2:
Red Colorway:  red/blue HST, red rectangle, red/blue HST.  Stitch 2:
Stitch RST across the row.  Press seams toward rectangle.

b. Stitch Pinwheel center:
Stitch the 4 blue/cream HST units RST, Press seams open

c.  Stitch cream rectangle to each side of pinwheel center. 

Step 3:  Sew Block
Stitch rows RST
Sew rows together.  Press seams open or toward outer rows.

Let's put this scrappy quilt together, what do you say?
Kim & I originally agreed on an unsashed setting, but adding sashing to my design gave it a new look I really liked.  It helps it gel a bit more too.  So, I have decided to give you a few options for layout.  All 3 layouts use 8 blocks of my Block 1 and 8 blocks of my Block 2.  Block 3, above will require a total of 16 blocks for the unsashed option and 18 blocks for the sashed. 

First let's look at the unsashed versions.  Turning Block 1 so we have a pink star in the middle:

I think the unsashed versions look better with all yellow Block 3's. 
 You will need 16 Block 3's for the unsashed version
Here's the unsashed with Block 1 turned to form a red star in the middle:

Do you love the spools that form in the corners around the 4 center star blocks?

Sashed Option
In the unsashed versions, you'll see that the image on the right has the block numbers overlaid so it's easy to see where each block is placed. 
Same layout as the red-star-center unsashed version above, just with sashing plus the 2 colorways of Block #3.  Remember from above, that we'll use 8 yellow Block #3's & 10 red Block #3's.
If you choose the sashed version, we need to cut those sashing strips!  I find that using the same fabric for all your sashing will calm the overall scrappiness a bit .  I used backing scraps and was able to still work out of the stash.
All strips are 2.5" wide.
(4) 30.5"
(24) 12.5"
(9) 2.5"
(4) 12.5"
(4) 20.5"

I am going to explain the sashed version's construction.  I think you can deduce the other 2 from the longer explanation (i.e., leave out the sashing.)

UNIT A: Top & bottom borders:
  • Stitch RST -Block #3-  2 yellow colorway , 5 red, then 2 more yellow.  Press seams open
  • Make 2.  
  • Should measure 54.5" x 6.5"

UNIT B:  First & last rows of medallion center:
Insure directional placement of the #1 blocks (pink to the inside bottom corner).

  • Stitch RST-Block 1, Red 12.5" sashing, Block 2, Red 12.5" sashingBlock 2, Red 12.5" sashingBlock 1. Always press toward sashing.
  • Make 2
  • Should measure 54.5" x 12.5"

Unit C:  Middle rows of medallion center:
Insure directional placement of the #1 blocks (red corner square toward the row middle).
  • Stitch RST-Block 2, Red 12.5" sashing, Block 1, Red 12.5" sashingBlock 1, Red 12.5" sashingBlock 2. Always press toward sashing.
  • Make 2
  • Should measure 54.5" x 12.5"

Assemble Sashing Rows:
I like to use cornerstones in long strips of sashing.  It helps keep the quilt square and the rows/columns aligned.
Sashing A:
  • All red units- Stitch RST- 12.5" sashing, 2.5" square, 12.5" sashing, 2.5" square, 12.5" sashing, 2.5" square, 12.5" sashing.  Always press toward sashing.
  • Make 3
  • Should measure 54.5" x 2.5"

Sashing B:
  • Stitch RST- Yellow 12.5" sashing, Red 30.5" sashing, Yellow 12.5" sashing.  Press toward Red sashing.
  • Make 2
  • Should measure 54.5" x 2.5"

Assemble Rows:
Stitch rows RST-

Unit A

Sashing B

Unit B

Sashing A

Unit C

Sashing A

Unit C

Sashing A

Unit B

Sashing B
Unit A

Should measure 54.5" x 70.5"

Add Side Borders:
  • Stitch RST- Yelllow 20.5" sashing, Red 30.5" sashing, Yellow 20.5" sashing.  Press toward red sashing.
  • Make 2
  • Should measure 70.5" x 2.5"
Add one to quilt's left and one to quilt's right side
  • Should measure 58.5" x 70.5"

And here is my finished Dreaming in Fabric quilt.  I even used Frankenbatting (scraps of batting fused with HPB to make a bigger piece of batting {here's a blog post about it})

There are print buttons at the end of the post for easy post printing & even editing what you print.  For example, if you don't need the pictures or all the text, this option will let you save paper & ink!  Next week, I will make a consolidated pdf of all 3 tutorials & have that on our Free Patterns page (here).
Link up your blocks here or on Kim's post.  They will show on both blogs, so you only need to link up once!

Don't forget...on November 15th, we will host a linky party for finished tops or quilts.  Fabrics N Quilts will award a $25.00 gift certificate to one of these linky quilters, at random.  The quilt can be any combination of the Dreaming In Fabric blocks.  Kim & I can't wait to see what you create!